Purple Rain (album)

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Purple Rain
Princepurplerain.jpg
Soundtrack album / Studio album with live tracks by Prince and The Revolution
Released June 25, 1984 (1984-June-25)
Recorded August 1983 – March 1984
Studio First Avenue
(Minneapolis, Minnesota)
The Warehouse
(St. Louis Park, Minnesota)
Record Plant
(Los Angeles, California)
Sunset Sound
(Hollywood, California)
Genre
Length 43:51
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Prince and The Revolution
Prince chronology
1999
(1982)
Purple Rain
(1984)
Around the World in a Day
(1985)
Singles from Purple Rain
  1. "When Doves Cry"
    Released: May 9, 1984
  2. "Let's Go Crazy"
    Released: July 18, 1984
  3. "Purple Rain"
    Released: September 26, 1984
  4. "I Would Die 4 U"
    Released: November 28, 1984
  5. "Take Me with U"
    Released: January 25, 1985

Purple Rain is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Prince, the second to feature his backing band The Revolution, and is the soundtrack album to the 1984 film of the same name. It was released on June 25, 1984 by Warner Bros. Records. To date, it has sold over 22 million copies worldwide, becoming the sixth best-selling soundtrack album of all time.[1]

Purple Rain is regularly ranked among the best albums in music history, and is widely regarded as Prince's magnum opus. Time magazine ranked it the 15th greatest album of all time in 1993, and it placed 18th on VH1's Greatest Rock and Roll Albums of All Time countdown. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it the second-best album of the 1980s and 76th on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The first two singles from Purple Rain, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy", topped the US singles charts, and were hits around the world, while the title track went to number two on the Billboard Hot 100. The RIAA lists it as having gone platinum 13 times over.[2]

In 2007, the editors of Vanity Fair labeled it the best soundtrack of all time, and Tempo magazine named it the greatest album of the 1980s.[3] The 1,000th issue of Entertainment Weekly dated July 4, 2008, listed Purple Rain at number one on their list of the top 100 best albums of the past 25 years.[4] In 2013, the magazine also listed the album at number two on their list of the 100 Greatest Albums ever.[5] In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at #2 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s" behind only Michael Jackson's Thriller.[6] In the same year, the album was added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry list of sound recordings that "are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important".[7]

Background[edit]

Purple Rain was released by Warner Bros. Records on June 25, 1984, and was Prince's sixth album. Prince wrote all of the songs on the album, some with the input of fellow band members. "I Would Die 4 U", "Baby I'm a Star" and "Purple Rain" were recorded live from a show on August 3, 1983, at the First Avenue club in Minneapolis, with overdubs and edits added later. This marked the first time Prince included live recordings on any release.[8] The show was a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theater and featured the first appearance of guitarist Wendy Melvoin in Prince's band, The Revolution.

"Take Me with U" was intended for the Apollonia 6 album, a full band recording with the Revolution and Jill Jones on backing vocals, but Prince pulled it for his own album. "Computer Blue" was a full band studio recording as well with various cuts some that are at least 14min long. "The Beautiful Ones", "Darling Nikki" and "When Doves Cry" are all Prince recordings.

Music[edit]

A sample of Prince and The Revolution's "The Beautiful Ones" from Purple Rain

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Purple Rain was the first Prince album recorded with and officially credited to his backing group The Revolution. The resulting album was musically denser than Prince's previous one-man albums, emphasizing full band performances, and multiple layers of guitars, keyboards, icy electronic synthesizer effects, drum machines, and other instruments. Musically, Purple Rain remained grounded in the R&B elements of Prince's previous work while demonstrating a more pronounced rock feel in its grooves and emphasis on guitar showmanship.

As a soundtrack record, much of the music had a grandiose, synthesized, and even—by some evaluations—a psychedelic sheen to the production and performances. The music on Purple Rain is generally regarded as the most pop-oriented of Prince's career, though a number of elements point towards the more experimental records Prince would release after Purple Rain. As with many massive crossover albums, Purple Rain's consolidation of a myriad of styles, from pop rock to R&B to dance, is generally acknowledged to account in part for its enormous popularity.

In addition to the record's breakthrough sales, music critics noted the innovative and experimental aspects of the soundtrack's music, most famously on the spare, bass-less "When Doves Cry".[citation needed] Other aspects of the music, especially its synthesis of electronic elements with organic instrumentation and full-band performances (some, as noted above, recorded live) along with its landmark consolidation of rock and R&B, were identified by critics as distinguishing, even experimental factors. Stephen Erlewine of AllMusic writes that Purple Rain finds Prince "consolidating his funk and R&B roots while moving boldly into pop, rock, and heavy metal," as well as "push[ing] heavily into psychedelia" under the influence of the Revolution.[9] Erlewine identifies the record's nine songs as "uncompromising...forays into pop" and "stylistic experiments", echoing general sentiment that Purple Rain's music represented Prince at his most popular without forsaking his experimental bent.[9]

"Take Me with U" was written for the Apollonia 6 album, but later enlisted for Purple Rain. The inclusion of that song necessitated cuts to the suite-like "Computer Blue", the full version of which did not earn an official release, although a portion of the second section can be heard in the film Purple Rain, in a sequence where Prince walks in on the men of The Revolution rehearsing. The risqué lyrics of "Darling Nikki" contributed to the use of Parental Advisory stickers and imprints on album covers that were the record label's answer to complaints from Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center.[10][11][12]

"There's every emotion from the ballad to the rocker," observed Jon Bon Jovi. "All the influences were evident, from Hendrix to Chic."[13]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[9]
Blender 4/5 stars[14]
Christgau's Record Guide A–[15]
Entertainment Weekly B[16]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[17]
IGN 10/10[18]
MusicHound 4.5/5[19]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[20]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[21]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 9/10[22]
Pitchfork Media 10/10[23]

Prince won two Grammy Awards in 1985 for Purple Rain, for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special, and the album was nominated for Album of the Year. Prince won a third Grammy that year for Best R&B Song (songwriter) for Chaka Khan's cover of "I Feel for You". Purple Rain also won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score in 1985.

Purple Rain sold 13 million units in the United States, including 1.5 million in its debut week,[24] earning a Diamond Award from the Recording Industry Association of America. According to Billboard magazine, the album spent 24 consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard albums chart (August 4, 1984 to January 18, 1985), becoming one of the top soundtracks ever. Purple Rain traded the #1 album chart position with Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. twice, during 1984 and 1985. The album has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.[1] The album further established him as a figurehead for pop music of the 1980s. The album sold 69,000 equivalent copies (62,000 in pure album sales) in the week following Prince's death,[25] thus allowing the album to re-enter the Billboard 200 at number 2.[26]

Singles from the album became pop hits worldwide, with Prince scoring four US Top 10 singles from the album. Of them, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy" reached #1, "Purple Rain" reached #2, and "I Would Die 4 U" reached #8. The fifth and final single "Take Me with U" reached #25, but became a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom, meaning all Purple Rain singles became worldwide hits.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Prince except "Computer Blue" by Prince, John L. Nelson, Wendy & Lisa and Dr. Fink (uncredited). 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Let's Go Crazy"   4:39
2. "Take Me with U"   3:54
3. "The Beautiful Ones"   5:13
4. "Computer Blue"   3:59
5. "Darling Nikki"   4:14
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "When Doves Cry"   5:54
7. "I Would Die 4 U"   2:49
8. "Baby I'm a Star"   4:24
9. "Purple Rain"   8:41

Personnel[edit]

  • Prince – lead vocals and various instruments
  • Wendy Melvoin – guitar and vocals (1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9)
  • Lisa Coleman – keyboards and vocals (1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9)
  • Matt Fink – keyboards (1, 2, 7, 8, 9)
  • Brown Mark – bass (1, 2, 7, 8, 9)
  • Bobby Z. – drums and percussion (1, 2, 7, 8, 9)
  • Novi Novog – violin and viola (2, 8, 9)
  • David Coleman – cello (2, 8, 9)
  • Suzie Katayama – cello (2, 8, 9)
  • Apollonia – co-lead vocals (2)
  • Jill Jones – background vocals (2) [8]

Early configurations[edit]

Prince configured at least two unique track listings of Purple Rain prior to setting the final running order.[27] The 7 November 1983 and 12 March 1984 configurations are listed below. The majority of changes are edits to "Let's Go Crazy" and "Computer Blue" in order to include "When Doves Cry" and "Take Me with U" in the final running order.

Singles[edit]

  1. "When Doves Cry"
  2. "17 Days"
  • "Let's Go Crazy" (US #1, US R&B #1, US Dance #1, UK #7, Australia #10)
  1. "Let's Go Crazy"
  2. "Erotic City"
  1. "Purple Rain"
  2. "God" (vocal)
  3. "God" (instrumental) — UK version only
  1. "I Would Die 4 U"
  2. "Another Lonely Christmas"
  1. "Take Me with U"
  2. "Baby I'm a Star"
  • "Let's Go Crazy" and "Take Me with U" were released as a double A-side single in the UK in 1985.

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[52] 6× Platinum 600,000^
France (SNEP)[53] Platinum 338,600[54]
Germany (BVMI)[55] 3× Gold 750,000^
Japan 197,000[33]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[56] 5× Platinum 75,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[57] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[58] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[59] 13× Platinum 13,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Nathan Brackett, Christian Hoard (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely Revised and Updated 4th Edition. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  1. ^ a b Taneja, Nikhil (9 December 2008). "Those chart busters". Hindustan Times (Mumbai: HT Media). OCLC 231696742. Retrieved 18 April 2009. 
  2. ^ "American album certifications – Prince – Purple Rain". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  3. ^ "Prince's Purple Rain reigns over movie soundtrack list". CBC News. 24 October 2007. 
  4. ^ "The New Classics: Music". Entertainment Weekly (999-1000). 20 June 2008. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "Entertainment Weekly‘s 100 Greatest Albums Ever". Jun 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Staff (5 March 2012). "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s". Slant Magazine. 
  7. ^ "The National Recording Registry 2011". National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. Library of Congress. May 24, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Album: Purple Rain - Prince Vault". princevault.com. 
  9. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Prince & the Revolution: Purple Rain > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  10. ^ "PMRC". 2003-04-06. Archived from the original on 2003-04-06. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  11. ^ "Page 11". Joesapt.net. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  12. ^ Cruz, Gilbert (November 2, 2006). "All-TIME 100 Albums - Purple Rain". TIME. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  13. ^ Q, June 2000
  14. ^ Harris, Keith (June–July 2001). "Every Original CD Reviewed - Prince". Blender. No. 1 (Alpha Media Group). 
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Prince and the Revolution". Robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  16. ^ Browne, David (21 September 1990). "Purple Products". Entertainment Weekly. No. #32. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  17. ^ Price, Simon (April 22, 2016). "Prince: every album rated – and ranked". The Guardian (London). Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  18. ^ Spence D. (24 August 2004). "Purple Rain: 20 years later it's still Prince's masterpiece.". IGN. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  19. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds.) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (2nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 897. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  20. ^ Loder, Kurt (13 April 2000). "Prince: Purple Rain (Soundtrack)". Rolling Stone (Wenner Media). ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  21. ^ Hoard (2004), p. 655. Portions posted at "Prince: Album Guide". RollingStone.com. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  22. ^ Weisbard, Eric (10 October 1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide (1st ed.). Vintage. ISBN 978-0-679-75574-6. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  23. ^ Wallace, Carvell (April 29, 2016). "Prince: Purple Rain". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  24. ^ Palmer, Robert (22 July 1984). "PRINCE CREATES A WINNER WITH 'PURPLE RAIN'". The New York Times (New York City: The New York Times Company). Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  25. ^ "Prince Dominates Album Sales After His Death". HipHopDX. April 25, 2016. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Prince Rules at No. 1 & 2 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart with 'The Very Best Of' & 'Purple Rain'". Billboard. April 24, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2016. 
  27. ^ Nilsen, Per (2003). DanceMusicSexRomance: Prince - The First Decade. Firefly. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-946719-64-8. 
  28. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  29. ^ "austriancharts.at Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 40, No. 25" (PHP). RPM. August 25, 1984. Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
  31. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
  32. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
  33. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4871310779. 
  34. ^ "charts.org.nz Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
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  39. ^ a b "Allmusic: Purple Rain: Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
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  53. ^ "French album certifications – Prince & Revolution – Purple Rain" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select PRINCE & REVOLUTION and click OK
  54. ^ "Les Albums Platine :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
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  57. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Prince; 'Purple Rain')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  58. ^ "British album certifications – Prince – Purple Rain - OST". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 29, 2012.  Enter Purple Rain - OST in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  59. ^ "American album certifications – Prince – Purple Rain". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 29, 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen
Billboard 200 number-one album
August 4, 1984 – January 18, 1985
Succeeded by
Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen
Preceded by
Breaking Hearts by Elton John
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
August 13 – 19, 1984
Succeeded by
Rodney Rude by Rodney Rude
Preceded by
The Unforgettable Fire by U2
Dutch Mega Chart number-one album
October 27, 1984 – November 19, 1984
Succeeded by
Make It Big by Wham!